Regular maintenance of your fishing reel requires more than just cleaning off the dirt and corrosion. You also need to regularly grease certain parts of your reel to keep it lubricated and working smoothly when you go fishing. Not all oils and greases are suited for cleaning fishing reels, though. That’s why we’ve assessed the best greases for oiling your fishing reel.
You should use a grease that is anti-corrosive, moisture resistant, thermally stable, and of a good density to lubricate your fishing reel, after taking it apart and cleaning it. Greases designed specifically for fishing reels are the preferable option since they are designed for fishing temperatures, fishing reel parts, and corrosion due to moisture.
In this article, we’ll explain why these types of grease are ideal for oiling fishing reels, as well as other acceptable options. We’ll also identify the types of grease you should not use on your reel. Keep reading to learn more about what kind of grease for fishing reels is best.
The Importance of Greasing Fishing Reels
One of the biggest reasons to clean and grease your fishing reel is that it will improve its overall performance. You may not realize it when you buy a new reel, but you might even need to give it a first grease before you ever use your reel. That’s how important it is to grease your reel.
There are only certain parts of the reel that need to be greased, which is why you have to take it apart before you can grease those parts. The moving parts, such as the knobs, handles, line roller, bail arm springs, bearings, and gears. These are the moving parts where friction will occur – the grease helps to reduce friction and heat so that your reel doesn’t overheat while in use or corrode over time.
Don’t wait for your reel to need grease. Instead, grease it regularly so that it doesn’t even have a chance to corrode. Just be careful not to over-lubricate it, as this can negatively affect performance. The frequency of reel greasing varies depending on how often you use your reel. If you are fishing for long periods of time and often, then you could grease your reel every few months or so. However, most recreational fishers just need to oil their reels once to twice a year.
Can You Use Gun Oil on Fishing Reels?
A lot of fishers will turn to grease and oil products they already have in their garage or home due to convenience. But it’s important to only use the correct type of grease on your fishing reel so you don’t damage it. The main elements you want in a fishing reel grease are:
- Thermal stability
- Good density
- Moisture resistance
Because there are different individual parts of a fishing reel that need to be greased, some parts will require different types of grease. Gun oil happens to be an acceptable lubricant for certain parts of a fishing reel – namely, the parts that require a thicker oil. Gun oil is usually of a somewhat higher viscosity, and thus, you shouldn’t use it on parts of the reel such as the ball bearings. Ball bearings should get a much lighter/thinner grease as needed – preferably a lubricant specified for fishing reels.
So, yes, you can in some cases use gun oil to lubricate parts of a fishing reel, but it isn’t the most ideal option. If you’re going to use gun oil, check the label of the product to see if it is designed for multiple uses (besides oiling gun parts). If it is, it will be more likely to work well on fishing reel parts.
Can You Use WD40 on Fishing Reels?
Along with the tendency to use available lubricant products, anglers may want to just use a product like WD40 to grease their reel parts. This, however, is a mistake you do not want to make. Although gun oil can be multi-purpose when it comes to greasing machinery parts, WD40 should be reserved solely for its intended purpose (removing grime and rust from household objects like door hinges, for example).
Using WD40 on fishing reels can lead to the spray product drying and leaving a film on your feel that will just cause more dirt to accumulate.
In fact, WD40 is actually a degreasing product, meaning it breaks down grease, oils, and dirt on metals. Therefore, it’s not a very logical choice for greasing your fishing reel since it does the opposite of greasing.
Can You Use Vaseline on Fishing Reels?
In some cases, such as your last resort, you can use vaseline as a lubricant for certain fishing reel parts. However, Vaseline is not a recommended option for fishing reel maintenance since it won’t really do much of what reel-specific lubricants do. For example, Vaseline isn’t designed to protect against corrosion or rust.
It’s also not designed with thermal stability in mind the way that reel lubes are. Therefore, if you go out in winter fishing conditions with Vaseline on your reel, you may end up with frozen grease, resulting in friction or other issues.
You really shouldn’t use Vaseline on the gears of your fishing reel if you can avoid it, as you may end up actually damaging the reel more than if you had forgotten to grease it altogether. You don’t want to end up with a reel that needs to be fixed, as repairs can get expensive.
Acceptable Grease Types for Fishing Reels
We established that one could use gun oil to grease a fishing reel, but there are other, better, grease products to use. Specifically, you should aim to use a fishing reel grease that is marketed for just that purpose.
Some popular options that are ideal for working on the small parts in your fishing reel include the following:
This is a synthetic oil designed specifically for fishing reel parts. You should use this product on ball bearings, handle knobs, worm gears, and line rollers in particular. It’s professionally made to withstand harsh conditions, warding off rust and corrosion. PENN Reel Oil and Lube is a good choice for the best water resistance, rust protection, lubrication, and load-carrying capacity.
This is a blend oil that is also designed specifically for fishing reel parts. It’s actually a synthetic oil meant to be used on pivot points, baitcasters, and ball bearings. This product is specifically ideal for long-term use.
This precision oil and grease kit is designed for use on fishing reels of all kinds. You can apply it on reel drags and drag washers, and it’s good for added protection against moisture, including saltwater conditions.
Corrosion Technologies fishing reel oil is great for extreme conditions, including both saltwater and freshwater. It protects your reel against corrosion and wear, and it is designed for ideal spinning and casting. What’s great about this lubricant is that it doesn’t contain any silicone, wax, or tar products that could clog up the parts with solids. It also has no PTFE content, making it safe for your reel. It promotes great reel performance and protects against rust as well.
This reel lubricant is designed to clean, penetrate, lubricate, and protect your reel parts from rust, corrosion, and other effects over time. It’s also moisture-resistant, which is an essential quality in a reel lube. It keeps out dirt and grime while also promoting a low-friction reel performance. One big perk is that it has more longevity than other lubes, which means you won’t have to apply it as often.
This is a synthetic blend reel oil that has a high thermal stability, making it perfect for even cold weather fishing situations. You can use it on reel parts such as the shafts, ball bearing systems, and other points of wear. It’s also anti-gumming and very low viscosity, so that it reduces friction, corrosion, and noise.
This product is more ideal for saltwater fishing conditions. The grease contains a rust inhibitor, which helps protect your reel from the effects of corrosion. The synthetic oil is made to apply on shafts, bearings, and other points of wear. It is also high temperature resistant and it lowers friction when in use.
Greases You Should Not Use on Fishing Reels
We already established that you shouldn’t really use WD40 on your fishing reel, if you can avoid it. But there are other types of lubricants that you should avoid.
What you really want to avoid are greases containing TFE (tetrafluoroethylene) since it can harden up into a solid on your reel, thus messing up the intent to lubricate and creating a layer that dirt and grime might build up on top of. You also want to avoid silicon-based grease products and silicon-based grease products.
Other oils you should avoid when greasing your fishing reel include any vegetable oils you might have stored in the kitchen, such as canola oil, olive oil, avocado oil, etc. The main reason you want to avoid cooking oils is that they tend to become thicker at colder temperatures, which makes them less useful for lubricating reel parts.
Tips for Finding the Best Fishing Reel Lubricants
Aside from the above suggestions, consider the following pieces of advice when choosing a reel lubricant:
- You want a lubricant that has a low separation rate. The separation rate is the rate at which your oil will separate from soap. You want this to be a low rate because it means that the effects of your lubricant last longer and you don’t have to grease it very often. It also protects your reel better.
- Find a lubricant that will lower friction when your reel is in use. This is why you want to look for the words “thin” or “low viscosity” on the grease product, as they will promote less friction and heat when using your reel.
- Consider your moisture environment before choosing a lubricant for your reel. Saltwater conditions require a lubricant that is designed to withstand much more extreme corrosion, whereas freshwater conditions require a less extreme lubricant.
- Don’t over-lubricate your fishing reel or its parts. Over-lubrication can be just as harmful as not lubricating it enough, as the parts can become slippery and not work properly.
- Find a fishing reel lubricant that is made to withstand different temperatures. A fishing reel lubricant is basically pointless if it can’t hold up in cold weather conditions. This is especially a problem when you fish in cold waters – lubricants that don’t have good thermal stability may freeze and harden during cold weather conditions, making them just about useless.
- Make sure that you have taken the reel apart and properly cleaned it before you start lubricating its parts. You don’t want to damage it in the process of trying to protect it from the elements.
- Look for a drip-free lubricant for your fishing reel. You don’t want the lubricant to accidentally get on parts that you don’t want or need it on, and you don’t want it leaking out of the reel while you’re fishing.
Lubricating your fishing reel’s parts is a crucial part of reel maintenance for any fisher. Whether you fish recreationally or professionally, you need to regularly grease your reel to eliminate corrosion, rust, friction, and too-high temperatures.
The best types of grease to use are those designed specifically for fishing reels and should be moisture-resistant, silicone-free, low viscosity, low separation rate, anti-corrosion, and thermally stable. You can use gun oil or Vaseline if you have no other option, but you should never use products like kitchen oil or WD40.
Make sure to assess your fishing conditions (temperature, saltwater/freshwater, etc.) before choosing a fishing reel lubricant so that you can attain optimal protection against the elements.
My name is Ruben. I love fishing like most guys I know. Fishing is so much more than just an outdoor activity- its an escape, its therapy and so much more. I put together a team of other professional anglers in order to create the most inclusive fishing resource.